Leupold Banner

1st time for everything

plumber1969

Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2016
Messages
223
I have been a long time lurker and this is my first post. Myself (age 47) and my wife (cannot say :cool:) will be going DIY next year to Colorado by way of Jacksonville, Florida. We are still in the planning, excitement and exercising phases. It will be an archery elk hunt and I am going in with zero expectations. We have some concerns of altitude sickness but have spoken to a couple of people we know who have gone to the 12,000 feet range with no affects. Any thoughts there would be of great help. We plan of driving in from the hotel or lodge daily so we don't have to buy tents and all the camping gear if we only do this once. As I our time approaches next year I am certain that we will post more and ask ALOT of dumb questions but only because we literally know nothing. I am from Louisiana and married a Florida girl so if you have crawfish and mosquito questions we can reciprocate knowledge. Kirk and Myrtie
 

jvanhoy

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 4, 2016
Messages
1,201
Location
VA
Good luck you will love it out there. We go every year from VA and all of us has had a touch of altitude sickness. Nothing bad just headache and nausea for a day or so. As long as your sleeping at a lower elevation you don't have a whole lot to worry about. Where you can get in some real trouble is coming from flatland and packing in and sleeping up over 10k. Hunt high and sleep low till you get used to it. And by low im talking 8 or 9k. That's where our campground is at. Main thing for us has been drink plenty of water. Have a great trip and good luck.
 

Aaronmp

Member
Joined
May 24, 2016
Messages
72
Location
Hanford,Ca
As jvanhoy said sleeping below the 10000 mark will help. Another is to increase your cardio exercise. Drops the blood pressure as you know. I've even found that when you're sleeping or even moving wear breathright strips for a couple days. I've done yosemite's halfdome which has a 4800 foot change in elevation and used them. Not as high an altitude. Almost 9000 ft at the peak but those strips helped a lot.
 

wolfpup

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 14, 2015
Messages
356
Altitude sickness affects every individual differently and is not something to toy with if you start with the symptoms. That said either make a trip this summer / fall to the area you plan to hunt and see if the altitude affects you. Fly in a few days early and acclimate yourself to the altitude. As noted by jvanboy, hydrate beyond your normal consumption as well as eat healthy.
 

Topgun 30-06

Active member
Joined
Jun 8, 2009
Messages
3,773
Location
Allegan, MI
Altitude is definitely something that people need to take seriously. I hunt every year in Wyoming at about 6500' to almost 8000' and never have a problem. However, the last couple years when I helped guys in the Big Horns at 9000' to 10,000' on archery elk hunts in September it took me about 4 days to acclimate to those heights before I could really give it a good go every day. Staying hydrated is one thing to do and not when you start getting thirsty, but frequently before thirst hits. However, this deal where a lot of people say just stay hydrated and you'll be fine is hogwash, because altitude sickness can hit the person who looks to be in great shape and not the one who looks like they couldn't walk a mile in a day.
 

Dougfirtree

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 27, 2016
Messages
1,938
Location
Adirondacks
Last year, I hunted in Colorado, mainly between 9,000-10,500 feet. It was the first time I'd been at elevation for years and I found that it had a big effect on my hunt, though not in the way I thought it would. As everyone has said, drink a lot of water, don't drink alcohol, sleep low and hike high and you'll start to acclimate. The first 3-4 days, you'll probably feel like you're in much worse shape that you really are and any uphill slope at all will have you breathing hard and going slow. But, in my experience, that gets better after a few days. Unfortunately, altitude seems to keep me from sleeping. The entire time I was hunting, I don't think I ever got more than 2-3 hours of sleep per night. After a few days of that, I was really starting to drag and it ceased to be fun. When I got back down to Denver, at the end of the trip, I had the most amazing night of sleep ever!
Most people don't seem to have this problem like I do, but I would make a couple of recommendations based on my experience: First, I would get to the area as far ahead of the season as you can (not to 10,000 feet right away, but maybe to 6000, or 7000 for a while first). If you can give yourself a week to just hang out and fish/scout before hunting season, you'll likely be in much better shape for the hunting. Some of us acclimate after just a few days and for others it takes a week, or two. Second, if you've got something that helps you sleep (melatonin, benadryl, etc.), I'd bring some, just in case. Hope I'm not scaring you, my partner had no trouble sleeping and my condition seems to be fairly rare. But, I just thought I'd pass it on, in case. Good luck!
 

3855WIN

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 17, 2014
Messages
2,193
Location
Mississippi
I would look at hunting at a lower elevation. The altitude will kick your butt.

Consider a DIY antelope hunt. There is a much better chance of success and a more reasonable altitude. While you're out there, take a few days in the mountains to enjoy it.
 

Eyeguy

Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2014
Messages
308
Location
Lincoln
Altitude is intimidating and is no joke but that doesn't mean that this hunt can't be done. Train your legs and lungs, work lots of cardio and go at your own pace when hunting. If it were easy everyone would do it!
 

sbhooper

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 7, 2012
Messages
4,178
Location
North Platte, Nebraska
Welcome aboard.

My take on the altitude thing is that you need to be in good shape and go to the area two or three days early and hike a bit in the high country. You will snap in just fine.

Just a story relating to this that I have posted before:

One year we were camped at 9000 feet in northern NM. I lived in NM at the time and altitude was irrelevant to me. The road past our camp ended at about 11,000 feet-ish. There were some young guys from Mississippi that came in and camped all the way to the end of the road. Luckily, they came in a couple days prior to the hunt. They told me that they were so sick that they could hardly get out of the tent for a couple days. They seriously considered just going home. They stuck it out, acclimated a bit and hunted hard. I chased a 6x6 to one of them and he killed it. They had a glorious time and were glad that they stuck it out.

We got together for a meal of fresh trout one evening and had a blast.
 

CU2151

New member
Joined
Jul 11, 2016
Messages
13
Location
Colorado
One thing I'll mention is "acclimating" is different than being at 100% performance. When you're acclimated you won't feel sick, but your performance level will drop proportionally to the lack of oxygen. This is normal and it takes months (in my case) before you're back at your previous level. Just expect this and don't overexert yourself.

Flying in and going straight to altitude is a bad idea. If you can, fly into Denver, spend the night, then drive up to the mountains. I've been on the top of Pikes Peak on the 4th of July and the number or tourists that were being carried to their cars was disturbing (extreme case obviously).

Know the symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness and if it progresses have an exit plan. Go back down in altitude for a day and relax.

Zombieland Rule of Survival #1: Cardio

All sounds scary, and it's a serious subject, but know your limits and you'll be fine. It's going to be an awesome adventure!
 

hank4elk

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 8, 2015
Messages
6,189
Location
SW NM
I lived on the coast & would regularly go to Sierras and would always take easy the 1st day around the cabin(7500') but would be at a spot 11k the next day.Water is key for me....lots .
I live at 7500' ft now and do not have too much trouble til I get to 10k.
I still have my "Life begins at 7000'!!" plate frame on my truck!
 
Last edited:

3855WIN

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 17, 2014
Messages
2,193
Location
Mississippi
Consider picking up a Wyoming point now and hunting Wyoming. There are other options besides 12,000'. I killed an elk at 4,500'. Packing an elk at 12,000' could be tough.
 

el unit

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 27, 2014
Messages
1,750
Location
Smelter City, MT
Don't overlook the lower elevations either. The elk I have harvested in CO and MT (5 with bow, 4 with rifle)
have been between 6200' and 8200'. Roadless areas are key.
Good luck, be safe!
 

plumber1969

Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2016
Messages
223
Guys we REALLY appreciate all of your insight. We intend to fly out about a month before the season and scout for a couple of days. We will use this time to really judge our fitness levels as well as the effects of or lack of altitude sickness. The idea that we are planning this a full year in advance is sick considering we are also getting ready to chase lizards in the swamps of Northeast Florida. I guess while I am asking questions, do yall have mosquitos and rattle snakes there? Have any of you tried hunting them rom a tree stand over water holes since we will be there late August? Just never really thought about that before...
 

wllm

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 9, 2015
Messages
14,585
Location
Boston
Like the other guys said pace yourself, give yourselves some time to acclimate if possible and drink a ton of water. Seriously drink way more water than you think is necessary I've see so many dudes complain of altitude sickness when really they are just coming from a state with 100% humidity to one with 0% and are super dehydrated. I took my buddy from Texas spring bear hunting this year and gave him the water lecture. Half way up a hill after a bear he looked like death I asked him if he was drinking enough and he showed me his empty Poland spring 20 oz bottle (his only water) meanwhile I'm 2 liters into my 3 liter bladder. If you are coming up from Florida and hitting it hard plan on consuming 5 liters a day, and if possible go without alcohol for the trip. Powdered drink mixes are great to bring!
 

Khunter

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 8, 2008
Messages
2,485
Location
western Colorado
Presume you were asking if tree stands are good for elk...and asking about trees tending for rattlers and skeeters :)

lots of of folks do hunt elk from tree stands over water holes with success. Word of suggestion. Do not come here and spend a week in a tree at the expense of getting around and after them. Mix it up perhaps...also you can hunt from a ground blind made of brush easily enough and forgo hauling a stand...

and as it was said before elk are at all elevations. Maybe skip the 12,000 elevations and find lower country in piñon juniper country. The is a stereo typical tree line elk hunt but hardly the only elevation you can find a ton of elk in. I am no expert but I live in colorado and never go above about 11,000 feet for elk. Most often hunt from 6,000 to maybe 10,000...maybe I am too lazy to hunt nosebleed county but never have trouble finding elk in easier terrain.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jul 26, 2016
Messages
75
Location
Tahoe City, CA
Some really good information has already been shared! I'd only add that altitude sickness is very dangerous and listen to what your body is telling you. I live and work between 6,200-7,200 ft year around and see people every year (generally during ski season) really impacted by exercise at elevation. It takes months, I believe up to 6, for your blood cells to fully adapt. Take the advice given about spending a day before climbing really high but that will never be enough. Living at 6-7k doesn't mean Im not impacted when I climb to 9k+...
 

Matt/VT

New member
Joined
Jul 31, 2015
Messages
153
Location
Northern New England
I would also recommend talking to your doctor. My father and I traveled to WY a few years ago from the east, his doctor prescribed him a medication to start a few days before. I used a natural supplement with no research behind it.

We both did well, but also focused on staying well hydrated. We took two days to travel to our hunting area, walking regularly, then hunted easier the first couple days, then were able to get after it.

My Colorado trip last fall I followed the same routine. Got behind on water intake the first day and had a headache, but then was fine when I was able to tank back up.

So if you can go early and walk around a bit, definitely do that. Definitely get a ton of cardio in, especially hill work.
 

plumber1969

Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2016
Messages
223
Alrught, another dumb question, with the limits of carrying water while hunting, those guys that pack miles in and camp with no hirse. Where do they get water? Springs, creeks....?
 

Latest posts

Forum statistics

Threads
100,893
Messages
1,602,964
Members
31,612
Latest member
AshlineCJ
Top